Friday, January 30, 2015

Ice, Ice, Baby

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate winter.  I really don't like anything about it.  The cold.  The snow.  The ice.  The wind.  I only stay here because we have a good living through my husband's work and he doesn't want to start over.  We may have to reconsider.  Soon.

Last winter I fell twice.  Once on some black ice and the other time in the house.  Nope, not explaining that one, sorry.

After all that I've been through with my ankle this past year, I have been extraordinarily careful when it appears that anything at all is on the street or sidewalk.  Possible ice or even heavy frost has me shuffling across the parking lot like an 80 year old women in her house shoes.

Yesterday I went up to the Y at about 6 a.m. to swim.  Because I have been an invalid here and there I have a funny habit of swinging both legs around and standing up with both feet on the ground.  I do this most of the time.

The only problem was that this time, I stood up on solid ice.  Couldn't feel it under my feet.

When you put both feet down on solid ice, a funny thing tends to happen.  You go down.  Hard.  In my case the car door was still open and my keys went flying. My legs went under the car.

Thought #1:  feels like knees and ankle are OK
Thought #2:  Oh no!  (I actually moaned this out load.  I sounded like a pathetic little puppy.)
Thought #3:(and it would have been my first thought without my history)  Did anybody see that?  (no one did, whew).

I crawled to my keys, pulled myself up and carefully went into the Y.  It did occur to me that maybe I should skip it, but hey, I have been called stubborn more than once.

Unfortunately, I was in too much pain in my right arm to even kick in the water, so I got out and went home.  I called in to work, let my husband know and crawled into bed and slept.  I felt like I had been in a wreck or something.

I did at least get to my friendly orthopaedic office.  They were happy to see me and we discussed how I was moving up in the world.  Literally.

Verdict:  broken left ring finger.  Torn rotator with nerve impingement.  I actually aggravated an injury that I got when I fell on the sidewalk in New York a couple of summers ago.  (I wrote a post about this is 2012)
Course of treatment:  Cortisone shot (nothing new here), Pt (of course), followed by an appt in a month to see if I need an MRI and whatever that will imply.  Activities as tolerated.

So, here we go again.  I tell ya, I really know how to live.

It is supposed to snow a bunch this weekend.  I may come out in the spring.  Somebody needs to rescue me from this frozen icy wasteland.

You can't see it very well, but there is a nice black and blue lump
under that last knuckle  above my ring.

I broke my finger right where the ligament attaches at that knuckle
so no splint for me as I need to keep exercising it so it will
straighten and flex in future.  I didn't realize my finger was broken
before it started turning and swelling.  Luckily, my rings still turn.
They sure won't fall off anytime soon.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Elcy's Buried Treasures

My grandmother, 1949
My mother is getting older (I am not, however) and she has decided to give me some things that she no longer needs/wants.  She used to make candy Christmas trees out of styrofoam tree shapes and then she would give them to her friends.  She has stopped doing this and has decided to 'spread the wealth' so to speak.  I received a couple of boxes of materials that she had stored away.

In these boxes, underneath the tiny little tree embellishments, however, was buried treasure. I found things from my grandmother, Elcy. I just love how I occasionally unearth her things. She meant the world to me and I miss her very much. She was a great grandmother.

Businesses used to give little trinkets
like these to their customers.
In the latest boxes that I was given, I found little items that brought back memories of Elcy.  There were packets of old buttons, mostly used up.  I recognise some of the brands, but not all.  There were several needle packs.  I don't know if needles still come in big packs like this, but they did in the 60's. There were partially used thread spools and even a few Christmas items.

The needle packs.
When I saw these tiny mementos, I was instantly transported back into her apartment.  She helped me learn to sew. She made great cookies.  I can see us sitting in her kitchen playing cards, sewing, making dinner. I spent a lot of time at her place. It was like a mini vacation for me, since there were three younger siblings tearing it up at our house. I remember hating it when Sunday came along and I had to go home.

So here's to Elcy, the greatest grandmother that anyone could ever have.  I miss you.

The thread that has DD written on it was mine.  I must have
used it for some project.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Am an Artist

Gulp.  It really is frightening to say those words.  I don't always feel that I really am an artist.  I cannot draw what I see.  I don't understand shadow and light.  I screw up all the time.

But I create.  And anyone who creates is an Artist.  Do you sew?  Do you quilt?  Do you make cards? Decorate?  Then you, my friend, whether you want to believe it or not, are an artist.

It doesn't matter if you sell your Art.  If it gives you and others pleasures, well, who would deny that there is an Art to that?

As part of the Inspiration Wednesdays class that I am taking, we have been experimenting with different mediums.  A couple that I have never used before, to be specific; super heavy gesso and acrylic glaze.

May I just say that I am obsessed?  With both.  I foresee lots of use of those two products in my future.

The super heavy gesso goes on like butter and looks like plaster. Yum.  The glaze thins out the paint without thinning out the color.  Double yum.

Enjoy.  Oh, and the elephant thing is my deal this year.  Kind of my spirit animal for the time being, if you will.  I know. That's pretty heavy.

(Please forgive the photos.  It's dark here and the Bat Cave is rather unforgiving.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Did It!

The finished journal.  I happen to love the skull covered button that I made myself.
I had all of the fabric leftover from other projects.  Use the stash!

I do not sew often.  In fact, I have been known to pile up little sewing projects and toss them because they get too dusty or out of style.  So, my inner monster was thrilled when I decided to take on a little sewing project.  I could hear her dancing around in the back of my lizard brain.

However, she didn't know that we had 2 cold days this week. So, despite my inner monster in my lizard brain, I finished the project!  Ha.  Take that!

One of the signatures with an inclusion from my stash.
I am enrolled (shut up) in a class called 'Inspiration Wednesdays' through Donna Downey.  (I have a button that I will put up after I remember how to do that.)
  A new class/technique is delivered online every other Wednesday during 2015.  We are supposed to put everything in an Inspiration Journal. Because the journals would be sold out of her shop immediately, I decided to try my hand at making my own.  I mean, I own a sewing machine that I use at least once a year. I have fabric.  I have thread and bobbins and needles.

Unfortunately, I didn't have several of the supplies needed so I trudged to the store(s) and picked them up.  Have any of you ever heard of an Anywhere Hole Punch?  Me neither.  I had trouble finding a grommet tool also.

I will not be giving any instructions on how to make the journal since Donna sells the video in her shop ($5 if you are interested).  Suffice it to say that despite a few glitches, I got er done!  I even added 2 signatures so that I can put in all sorts of messy goodness.


PS:  I added the Inspiration Wednesdays button for any of you who may be interested in an Art Journaling adventure!

I have all sorts of doilies and decided to use this hideous
gold one.  It will get all painted, I'm sure!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Be It Resolved

A resolution.  That's a scary thing.  I don't like making them.

I had been, however, wanting to start blogging more consistently (duh) and I want to use my huge stash of supplies and tools in the Bat Cave.

So, I am going to attempt to create more.  Hopefully this will happen weekly.  I may need to delete all the games off of my iPad to do it, but by golly, it needs to get done.  If I don't use up some of this stuff, I will have to annex another room in the house.  Say, that's not a bad idea...

To start the New Year off right, I have completed a little project that was totally practical.  I received several gifts from students and I needed some Thank You cards.  What better project to help me use up my stash?

I want to stop here and say that I am going to be giving written instructions right now.  That is because while I know how to use the video cameras that I have, I can't figure out how to get them up above my head to film down on the process.  I probably need some super special little thingy ma bob that I can get for a few bucks.  I don't have that.  I also am not sure what you have to do to post them to your blog.  Hopefully, I will progress to film as I know you all would like that better.

1.  I started with a sketch of what I wanted to do.  I know, I know.  But, in this case it was super helpful.

2.  Next, I slopped some gesso on a piece of plain white cardstock (maybe they call it index?) that you can buy at any office supply store.

3.  After the gesso was dry I cut the cardstock into two 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" pieces.  This is the size of the card I will make.  I also will have an extra if I screw one up.

4.  I then sketched the design onto the card.  I did it portrait style at first, but then felt that a landscape card would fit the design better.  I love my eraser.  Note: you could just copy the sketch onto your gessoed paper if you can get it to run through your copier.  I didn't try it since I need all of the drawing practice that I can get.

5.  I then used my Caran d'Ache Neo Colors to color in the design.  These are very cool watercolor crayons.  I use them all of the time, but I haven't touched them in a while.

6.  After I colored in my design, I chose a watercolor paint brush, wet it and then went to town.  Note that the words aren't on there.  I can't tell you how many times I have finished something and then screwed up the lettering.

7.  I wasn't going to, but I wound up cutting the watercolor off of the rest of the card.  It made it easier for copying.  Yup.  I am crazy, but even I don't want to watercolor 12 thank you notes from scratch.  I had to play with my copier a bit, but I was finally able to copy directly onto the white cardstock so that I could get two cards per sheet.  Each copier is different so you will have to experiment with yours.

8.  Because I am not any good at folding things nicely, I have a little tool called a Scor-It-All.  It helps me make a really nice straight fold.  You do have to know how to divide by 2, which on some days...

All copied and folded.
9.  Still no lettering.  This time I thought that I would get smart and practice a bit.

10.  Now I just need to write the words on each card.  You are probably thinking that I should have written on one of the cards and then copied that.  It would be easier, but I wanted copies from the original, not from a copy of the original.  Got it?  Oh, I used my Faber Castell Pitt pens for this part. I think it was the next to thickest one (medium?).

11.  Ta da!  Finished cards.  I made a few extras so that I have some to grab when I need them.  I will keep the original and make up more as needed.  Just think, if you give me something, you will get an original piece of art, albeit a copy.  

So, there is the process in a nutshell.  Or two.  It wasn't hard to do and I used some of my favorite tools.

My next project is gessoed.  I just have to find time to work on it.  I will give you a hint:  wood and doodles.

Have a Happy and Wonderful New Year.  Time to eat!  Oh, and write 12 Thank Yous.